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Russian visa advice needed

Travel Forums Europe Russian visa advice needed

1. Posted by nickla (Respected Member 223 posts) 11y

nickla has indicated that this thread is about Russia

HI, i am planning on visiting russia with a friend in the summer and am after some advice. We are going to be travlling around, going to St Petersburg, Novgorod and Moscow. My friends aunt lives in Moscow so she said she can sponsor us. However, do we need to apply for a visa still or must we wait until she has completed paperwork at her end? I live in the UK if this makes a difference

Any help would be greatly appreciated as i am getting quite confused about the whole thing.

Nicola

2. Posted by ukmassage (Inactive 1052 posts) 11y

you need an invitation letter and eventually an offer from your friends aunt to stay at her place. She might include a copy of her latest bank statement or copy of her ID to confirm her address/financial state.

There is plenty of time - wait for all the paperwork.

3. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 11y

Honestly, it's significantly easier and less hassle to ignore the private visa and get a tourist one (or business if you need longer). Private visa's are a serious hassle all around.

4. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 11y

Oh, and in addition - i think Russian visa's can only be issued 90days in advance anyway, so you've plenty of time for that.

www.waytorussia.net

Tend to be the best place on line for info about Visas/visting etc

5. Posted by nickla (Respected Member 223 posts) 11y

Hi, thanks for the advice so far. My main concern was that our first port of call in Russia will not be Moscow and hence not my friends aunts house. As we are backpacking we will no doubt be staying in a youth hostel rather than a hotel. Some of the things i have read suggested that for a tourist visa you need items from the hotel that you are staying at both before and during your visit - to confirm you are staying there.

Also, is there any cheap way of doing it over the net. I know that the embassy is located in London, but dont really have the time to get down there. I dont however fancy having to pay vast amounts to get it done via some company over the net.

Once again any help would be greatly received.

Nicola

6. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 11y

Some of the things i have read suggested that for a tourist visa you need items from the hotel that you are staying at both before and during your visit - to confirm you are staying there.

You need an invitation from a hostel/hotel or agency in order to apply for a visa. You can get the invitation from some online places, or automatically by booking a nighta accom somewhere. You have to pay for this invitation, and it is sent to you by Fax.

Also, is there any cheap way of doing it over the net. I know that the embassy is located in London, but dont really have the time to get down there. I dont however fancy having to pay vast amounts to get it done via some company over the net.

You can do the visa bits online (you can't get these through the embassy, only by a Russian tourist ministry approved agent). The physical Visa, you can't get online, BUT you can get the forms online, and then send them with all the other bits and your passport to the Russian embassy in London. Note that you pay for the visa AS WELL as the Invitation.

This is actually much easier than in person, as the London embassy has a reputation for long queues, lets in limited people and has limited opening hours - i.e. you need to be there early (maybe an hour or two before opening) and then queue outside, and theres' still no guarentee you will get in. By mail, the London embassy is actually surprisingly efficient, so would suggest that.

When you first get to Russia, you have to register your visa within 3 working days. Most hotels/hostels do this automatically when you arrive (if you book somewhere, check it has visa support), but if not
or your staying at friends you have to do it yourself, which can be time consuming and frustrating business.

I'd recomended that you choose somewhere to go first, then book the first couple of nights in a hotel/hostel there, get your invitation through them, and also then get your visa registered by them when you get there. It will be much easier in the long run, even if you loose a little flexibility in your itinerary. If you don't get it registered properly etc, overrun your visa or don't get your deklarista sorted, you can be in all sorts of trouble later on, normally when your trying to leave the country

One other thing to note - whilst you have somewhere to stay in Moscow, be aware that in both Moscow and St. P, there is a SEVERE shortage of cheap accom, so under no circumstances turn up in either city without having pre booked accomodation. Or not unless you are very rich, or have a credit card with a high limit!

The best bet is to do some google searches for Russian visa's etc, and read through all the info a few times, and look at what's involved in all the different types of visa to see which is the easiest way for you. The Lonely Planet forums, E Europe page has a very good and thorough sticky about Russian visa's etc at the top of the page, and is also well worth a look for the info.

HTH

7. Posted by trump (Budding Member 3 posts) 11y

I used the sevice of special agent to be one month absolutely wild for travelling in Russia and styed home stay in weach city.
Good adviseers at www.RusRailTravel.ru

8. Posted by Brendan (Respected Member 1824 posts) 11y

RYH is a good place to start in St.Pete, that is where I stayed. And I think they have visa support for tourist visa's.

When I went I needed a buisness visa because I stayed three months. I ended up going to the front desk of some hotel and payed the guy $20 to register it for me :p